Necedah sporting goods store raises new flag

After months of fundraising efforts, Stars and Stripes Sporting Goods finally got a fresh set of Stars and Stripes.

Sports shop Necedah officially raised its American flag in a ceremony on February 11 with guests from the local VFW, the American Legion and the wider Necedah community.

The newly hoisted flag officially flies at 18 feet high and 12 feet wide, drawing attention even from afar.

According to Stars and Stripes co-owners Darin and Carla Kiesling, there was also the old flag to admire.

It had flown at the site since the 1980s and had the wear and tear to prove it.

“It’s become something of an icon for the community,” he said. “Everyone knows it and sees it every day.”

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With the state it was in, the gravellings knew they wanted to retire the old flag and introduce a newer, more weatherproof version. In December, they found the flag they wanted online, a set about fundraising to get it. The news quickly spread through the community and with it the support.

“People were just overwhelmed to want to see the flag again,” Carla said.

After months of sweepstakes, auctions and other fundraisers, the big flag for the Kieslings and the community finally became a reality.

It’s quite a way to commemorate nearly a year in business for the Kieslings, who opened the doors to their sports shop on November 1, 2021.

According to Darin, the two were tired of working for other people and wanted to open their own apartment. After the death of the local pawn shop owner, they saw a need for a local supplier of hunting, trapping and fishing supplies and knew this was a need they wanted to fill.

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Now it has blossomed into what Carla calls her own “mini cabelas”.

“There was kind of a hole in terms of sporting goods and gun stores and stuff like that,” Darin said. “We just wanted to do our own thing and we came up with that.”

After a little over a year in business, the Kieslings’ “own thing” has become an integral part of the community. Portions of the Constitution, eagles and of course flags cover the walls alongside outdoor supplies and merchandise. The patriotic theme has a personal meaning for the Kieslings, both of whom come from military families themselves.

“It just fits,” Carla said.

For them, raising the flag brought everything together, like the red, white and blue icing on the star-studded cake.

For those interested in visiting the new flag, Stars and Stripes Sporting Goods is open Tuesday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m

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